Business this week
In its biggest acquisition yet, Apple agreed to pay $3 billion for Beats Electronics, a specialist in pricey headphones and music-streaming. The growth of streaming services has posed a threat to music sales on Apple's iTunes. As part of the deal the co-founders of Beats, Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre, will join Apple.
Pfizer, an American drugs company, has conceded defeat, at least for now, in its pursuit of AstraZeneca, a British competitor. The proposed 70 billion takeover would have created the world's biggest drugs firm. The deal was opposed by some politicians on both sides of theAtlantic. British MPs voiced worries over potential job losses in research centres, while inAmerica the concern was Pfizer avoiding taxes. AstraZeneca's board rejected the offer, saying it undervalued the company. Under British takeover rules, Pfizer must wait six months before it can make another approach.
Google unveiled its latest driverless car. It plans to build 100 prototypes from scratch, rather than modifying others' vehicles as it has done in the past. The car has no steering wheel or pedals, only a “stop” and a “go” button. The two-seater electric vehicle can travel up to25mph and the firm hopes to pilot it on Californian roads within two years. However, there remain significant regulatory and legal barriers to its spread.
A delicate truth
The Financial Times says it has found flaws in the data used in “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, the bestselling analysis of inequality by Thomas Piketty. The paper said it had uncovered transcription errors and flawed formulae in spreadsheets and that some of the data appeared to be cherry-picked. Mr Piketty responded that the FT was wrong to suggest that this casts doubts on his conclusion that inequality is becoming more entrenched.
GlaxoSmithKline, a British drugmaker, is being investigated by the UK's Serious Fraud Office. The exact nature of the investigation is not known, but two weeks ago China charged three of the firm's executives with corruption, alleging that GSK had bribed doctors to prescribe its medicines. The firm said it intended to co-operate fully with the SFO.
The battle for control of Club Méditerranée, a French holiday firm, continues. Last year, Fosun, a Chinese conglomerate, and Ardian, a French private-equity firm, launched a joint bid to take Club Med private. Some shareholders took the matter to the French courts, arguing the bid was too low and lacked transparency. Now it seems a rival bidder, the Bonomi family from Italy, may attempt a takeover of its own. Club Med has been successful at attracting Asian tourists to its all-inclusive resorts.
Coming in from the cold
BP signed a deal with Rosneft, a state-owned Russian oil company in which it owns a 20% stake, to explore for hard-to-reach shale oil in the country. The agreement comes despite American sanctions against Igor Sechin, Rosneft's boss, relating to Russia's intervention in Ukraine. The deal was signed at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russia's answer to Davos, which many Western firms boycotted.
Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, provided some hints on how it intends to tackle the threat of deflation when its governing council meets in June. In a speech he suggested that, along with interest-rate cuts, there will be an attempt to boost credit in southern Europe by providing long-term funding to banks on the condition that they deploy it to expand business loans.
Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, said that banks have been too slow to reform themselves following the financial crisis. Ms Lagarde said that some banks are still too big to fail and would pose a systemic risk if they got into trouble. In a subsequent speech, Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, said that growing inequality was undermining trust in capitalism.
Rio Tinto agreed on a $20 billion deal with the government ofGuinea to mine iron ore. The Simandou project had seen a decade of wrangling over who owns the concession to mine the site. The firm will also build a650km (400 mile) railway and a deepwater port to service the mine.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that China has told state-owned companies to stop working with American consulting and technology firms, for fear of industrial espionage. It has also reportedly told some banks to stop using IBM servers. The tit-for-tat move, if true, comes afterAmerica indicted five Chinese army officers of cyber-spying on American companies, including Alcoa and US Steel.
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4.intend to 打算,想要
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